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« We Are Heroes | Main | Sorcery – it lurks in the minds of even the most sophisticated »

09 January 2017


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Arnold, thank you for your comments. The "time of darkness" stories go as far as Enga. However scientific examination of the actual ash (tephra) has indicated that it came from the Long Island eruption off Madang. that was perhaps about 300 years ago (there may be a more precise date). The Lutherans Strauss and Vicedom had some very good and interesting reports about local culture and customs. some have since been translated from the German to English.

Another great story, Gary. Western Highlanders who read this piece should be proud to learn something of their history.

In fact Western Highlands is a great place for the current ones to trace back their ancestors with agriculture already practiced in the area dating back 9,000 years ago.

I remember going through a collection of folktales and myths from the Ndika (Jika?) and Mokei tribes near Ogelbeng collected and compiled by a Lutheran missionary, D Viscom in the 1960s.

One of the tales related to him was about a period when darkness ruled over the Mt Hagen area for four days with showers of ashes pouring down killing all food sources resulting the death of many from starvation.

This story was told by a Ndika man that was related to him by his forefathers that eventually became a 'tumbuna stori' in the end.

But in realty Viscom noted historic also record that Mt Hagen and Mt Giluwe blew up spewing out hot ash and lava over the Mt Hagen area.

The Leahy brothers went through layers of volcanoc ashes and lava over at Kuta when they were mining for gold there.

Yeah, Gary, the point is Western Highlands is a great place to trace the people's history. Missionaries like yourself, Viscom and others have done a great job to record some of it.

The onus is with a Western Highlanders now to take up this challenge. If they do, the outcome would be a very very interesting piece.

Thank you, Gary, I like this story.

Phil, I met Pena Au a few times and he was indeed a gentleman. If I remember correctly - before my time - Pena Au beat Wamp Wan in the race for the Hagen Open seat in the House of Assembly.

There is a book "Tribal Warriors at the Last Frontier" by Benny Leo that is a history of the Jika Muguga. I have tried to get it but have not succeeded.

I remember Pena Au. He was elected in 1968. I wonder what happened to him? He was a really nice man with a very progressive outlook.

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